Most people don’t usually wake up and know the worst day of their lives is about to happen.
I know I didn’t.
There was a few times in my pregnancy with Jensen that I woke up knowing I might be hearing news that wasn’t perfect. The day we got the results back for Down Syndrome, I had a feeling it would be bad, but nowhere near the worst day ever. When I had my D&C last summer, I knew it would a very, very hard day. It was, but it wasn’t the worst.
Two years ago, I woke up with all my hopes for the future. I felt off, but I was looking forward to seeing Jensen on the ultrasound screen. Even when I didn’t feel him move throughout the morning, I somehow held on to hope. I never truly believed something would be that wrong. People who never have been through that experience wouldn’t. They don’t know what it’s like to be in the waiting room you’ve been in so many times before and have worried thoughts while it feels like everyone surrounding you. They don’t know what it’s like to sit there waiting for the ultrasound tech to say, ‘there’s his heartbeat.’ They don’t know the stillness in the room where she goes and gets the doctor. And they most definitely don’t know what it sounds like to hear someone tell you your child doesn’t have a heartbeat.
Those words still take my breath away.
Parts of that day that have been flooding my mind this year, that didn’t last year, was the walk out of the room. How did stand up after hearing that? I don’t remember moving my feet to walk out of the building and into the car. Maybe I floated?
I can vividly remember being in the ‘big’ triage room at the hospital, which I think they only give to people whose baby has died. When my mom came in the room, I knew it was all real. Even after seeing his lifeless body on the screen over and over again. My blood pressure spiked so high after she arrived. Everything went black and I’m not sure if I was breathing. Part of me wishes I would have just stopped breathing there, checked out of everything that was happening. I do remember saying, I can’t do this again. I don’t want to be pregnant again and get attached to another baby. In that room, I just kept saying I want him out. I didn’t want what was happening. Of course, right? I was afraid of the physical and emotional pain to come. It felt like I needed to just run out of the hospital and get cold air in my lungs. Somehow that would have reached him and he would have been fine.
The walk back to delivery room was… different. Shock shut down my brain. I remember those steps and I was well aware of what was going on around me. The nurse was talking to me and asking questions. I don’t really remember seeing the hallway, when I recall it, it’s like her and I were in a bubble until we walking in the next door. That door can burn in hell for all I care. I don’t think I ever touched it, but every time it opened and closed I wanted to scream.
I didn’t go back to sleep until the next night, when we got home. The morning of the fourth, I didn’t know I was going to have the worst day of my life, but right before I fell asleep on the fifth, I knew I had experienced the worst two days of my life.
Last year, I almost wished I could have went back and did it for my old self. There are a lot of changes I would have made and still would make if I could go back. Hindsight is 20/20 or that’s how the saying goes. This year, I’m terrified to even think I could experience stillbirth again. I’ve been overly monitoring Mila’s movements and have a bag packed, ready to go, if I feel like I need to go to the hospital for extra monitoring. Today, I’m so aware of the reality of what happened to Jensen, which is always in the back of my head, but it’s different today (and it will be tomorrow and probably the rest of my pregnancy with her).
I’m taking the rest of the day to just breathe and honor this twenty-four hours for what it is. Tomorrow, will be the time to celebrate Jensen’s life and how it’s changed mine in so many ways. My heart is heavy with grief, but full of love.
He’ll never be forgotten.